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PEPCO implements ArcGIS to provide powerful outage management

Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has used ESRI GIS software for Outage management. The impetus behind GIS implementation was overcoming the challenges of harsh weather conditions, exemplified by the winter of 1999, when a catastrophic ice storm blanketed the Washington, D.C., area with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures shutting down roads and infrastructure.

PEPCO services approximately 720,000 customers in Washington, D.C., and in surrounding Maryland suburbs. As a result of a 1999 ice storm where some PEPCO customers were without power for five days, outage management-restoring power and locating failed portions of the electric grid-became an overriding concern to the utility company.

The ice storm triggered a review of a number of processes at PEPCO including the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and GIS and the need for a more robust IT infrastructure capable of handling the great amount of change that PEPCO and its electric utility neighbors in the mid-Atlantic area were undergoing.

Under the leadership of Kaushiva, PEPCO began an aggressive campaign that included the three following projects:

  • Migrate from CAD-based drawings to a GIS.
  • Initiate an outage management solution.
  • Provide a mobile dispatch service for the field crews.

PEPCO chose ESRI software for the GIS platform. The initial scope of work for the migration of CAD drawings to a GIS was to first focus on the primary feeder plats. The remaining secondary plats will be migrated from CAD in a second phase. The GIS is built on ArcInfo 8.1, ArcSDE, and Oracle 8i. The PEPCO GIS project team, which consists of members from various departments including operations, planning, field services, and customer services, is working diligently to migrate the corporate CAD data to GIS data.

PEPCO is integrating ESRI GIS solutions with the outage management system from Configured Energy Systems, Inc. (CES), and a mobile solution from Axiom Inc. This GIS implementation will give PEPCO additional capabilities to respond to future outages, weather related or otherwise.